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By Mrs. Debbie Selengut

Erev Rosh Hashana

Dear Kallas, עמו” ש

I remember this feeling from last year, and the year before that, and the year before that…. And this year I hope to do things differently.

I sat down to make a menu/shopping list for the, ב” ה, gazillion meals I will be זוכה to cook and host. And as I got to the list of סימנים, that feeling popped up:

“Am I really preparing MYSELF for the ימים טובים?”

Am I taking any time to learn something, to inspire myself, to approach this new year inspired?

And I feel frustrated with myself a little about the question, because I have the great opportunity of working in a wonderful school, where walking down the hallway provides me with the most beautiful lessons, and bulletin boards and projects.

And I have opportunities to address others on spiritual topics, but what am I doing for me?

I am realizing that sometimes we just expect to be inspired. ‘`I’ll go to a shiur and be inspired”, or “I’ll read that book and be inspired”.

The only way to really be inspired and grow on the inside, is if I want to.

If I am looking to grow, to change, to expand, to tune in more to the amazing world around me, it has to be my intent.

Once, after telling my 7th graders about something that happened in a store that really taught me a lesson, one student asked, “How come things are always happening to you?”

I paused, and realized that there was nothing so incredible about the incident I had just shared with them, and my life is really very regular, but I try to go through the day and make sense of what i see and experience, and to give meaning to day-to-day occurrences.

I have always disliked being a spectator.

When I was little, I took many kinds of lessons; art, dance, sports, music (and parenthetically, I cannot do any of them well).

But what I did learn was not to be a spectator in life.

Get out there and do it, don’t just watch.

And if we can transfer that to our רוחניות and our inner growth, then our “regular” interactions have significance in their ability to let me see the world, Hashem’s work, and people, with new eyes.

“What can I learn from this?” can become a way to be in a constant growth mindset.

Trying to tap into Hashem’s beautiful world, trying to make sense of the frustrations, and interactions we have with others, can provide us with so much thought, appreciation, and insight.

But we have to live life looking for it, or else the day can be a series of meaningless occurrences, interactions and encounters.

In the busy (maybe even frantic) pace of our days, let’s try to look at things through new eyes.

I want to grow, I want to change, I want to live life not as a spectator, but as a player.

Involved, appreciative, engaged.

It’s taking responsibility for my own growth. I’m not relying on a shiur, or a book, or a speech (as powerful and impactful as they can be) …. I’m relying on myself.

So, wishing you a כתיבה וחתימה טובה, each one of you, with love.

A year of health, מנוחת הנפש, beautiful fulfilling relationships, and happiness.

With love,





Mrs. Debbie Selengut